Foreword Reviews

Chasing Whispers

In Eugen Bacon’s multifaceted and disarming short story collection Chasing Whispers, women and other beings are caught up in whirlwinds of emotion.

In “Chasing Whispers,” a young woman is interested in dating, but being with her potential partner brings up afterimages of an absent father. Searching for what happened to him, she turns to her mother, who tells her to “find the separation tree.” What she finds is astonishing. Bizarre images of eyes falling from sockets, unhinged jaws, women eating cats to the skeleton, and tree portals are reminiscent of a descent into madness—or symbols of coming into oneself. And in the surprising, funny, science fiction-tinged story “Industrial Pleasure,” a woman who’s fed up with working herself to the bone answers an ad for an apparent job. But the story does not give any hints as to what her new work entails. The story’s twist, and the logic underpinning it, is unexpected and intriguing.

In some ways, these are not stories, but emotions made flesh. “Where the Wind Blows” follows a writer on an as yet unsuccessful retreat. She meets a man and begins spending time with him. Simple dates follow, like an excursion to a boutique lavender shop. The wispy, dreamlike quality of the story gives way to profound, palpable disappointment and disillusionment when the writer discovers that the man has failed to reveal a crucial piece of information. Similar discontent infuses “A Deep and Terrible Sadness,” which pulls from a deep well of melancholy and seems to want its audience to suffer as well. Its narrator is mean and vindictive, and its lines are noisy with crashes and roaring winds, making it an accurate representation of the roller coaster of negative emotions.

Chasing Whispers is an emotive, immersive short story collection whose entries trade between being entertaining and thought provoking.

Reviewed by Dontaná McPherson-Joseph

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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